HISTORY OF THE SIAN BRADWELL FUND
Shortly after Sian’s death in 1986, the first private donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital was made in Sian’s name. During the next four years, many private donations were made by individuals, as well as work and sports group donations through the family and friends of Ken and Sharon Bradwell, with great assistance from their close friends Marisa Testa and Mirella Spadafora.
In 1988, Sharon worked with Marisa to compile a handbook for parents of children with cancer, based on information provided by the Paediatric Oncology Group (“POG” – a group of some 16 hospitals across North America which shared information about chemotherapy drug protocols). The book was printed by the Lamplighters Children’s Leukaemia Association and distributed by Haematology staff. The information was also made available to the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation Canada.
Also in 1988, Sharon presented a proposal for a softball tournament to the Director of Recreation of the Town of Kirkland, Neil Semenchuk, who gave the project his full support. Representatives of the Kirkland Mens’ and Ladies’ SlowPitch Leagues agreed to help, and the first annual Sian Bradwell Softball Tournament was held for the first time in 1989.
The Sian Bradwell Fund was formally established on October 3rd, 1990, the sixth anniversary of her birth, to purchase medical equipment. A series of fund-raising efforts was organised by the Bradwells, their family, and friends. The largest of these was the Sian Bradwell Softball Tournament, and an annual jeans and clothing sale contributed greatly. Several other events were run over the next few years, including;
- a netball tournament run by the Beaconsfield Netball Club (of the Quebec Amateur Netball Federation) of which Sharon was the coach
- a softball game pitting the Kirkland Ladies’ SlowPitch League against the CJAD Big Eights
- the T&ST Golf Tournament organised by Claudio Trivisonno, a friend
- the Royal Bank Systems & Technology Golf Tournament, organised by Joe Nicassio, another friend
- a variety show put on by the students of St. John Fisher Elementary School in Pointe Claire, where Sian’s grandmother, Millie De Souza, was a teacher
- the Sgt. Pepperoni (pizza restaurant) ice bucket campaign, run by John and Kerry Lekas of Kirkland
In 1993, the Sian Bradwell Softball Tournament was adopted as an official league event of the Kirkland Men’s SlowPitch League (KMSPL).
In 1997, work-related transfers took Ken and Sharon to the Toronto area, and the task of organising the 1998 softball tournament fell to Alan Groombridge, a member of the organising committee for several years and a member of the KMSPL. Other volunteers have since come forward to keep the tournament going, with great support from the town of Kirkland, and the event is now a fixture in the West Island area of Montreal.
In April of 2000, the Fund was incorporated federally as a not-for-profit organisation, with a head office in Kirkland, Quebec.
During the 2000 Tournament, Sharon met Mike Gaudin, vice-president of the West Island Lakers Basketball Association (www.wilba.net), who felt the League could make a difference by having young basketball players involved in helping childhood cancer patients. Mike submitted a proposal to add a fundraising component to the League’s annual All-Star Weekend, where some 950 or so youngsters from the age of 6 years to 19 years participate, and the event was renamed the Sian Bradwell-West Island Lakers Basketball Association All-Star Weekend. The 10th anniversary of the event in 2010 saw the inaugural Shoot For Sian raise over $11,000. With house league All-Star games, a Celebrity Game featuring the Montreal Alouettes football team, silent auction and other events, the event has gone from strength to strength, and the effort is now led by Nancy Tallman and Terry Skindilias.
The Sian Bradwell Endowment Fund was established at the Montreal Children’s Hospital in 2007 in order to continue purchasing medical equipment when there are no more fundraising events, and supplements the regular Fund contributions towards purchasing priority equipment. In 2016, for example, $20,000 from the Endowment Fund has been earmarked to purchase a physiological monitor for Oncology.
In 2010, the Sian Bradwell Softball Tournament (Toronto) — a successor to the Toronto 3-Pitch Charity Challenge and Diamond Charity Challenge, which were held in the early-1990s to raise funds for the Hospital For Sick Children (SickKids) — was re-established by the founders of the event: Steven Vutskos, Donna Baker, Jacqueline Gauthier and Peggy Chan.
Also in 2010, volunteers started a bowling fundraiser for the McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, and the event receives great support from the Hamilton TigerCats Football Club of the Canadian Football League, and Sian Bradwell Fund ambassador Mike Bradwell formerly of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club.
On March 15th, 2012, the Sian Bradwell Endowment Fund was established at the Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto, thanks to the organising committee of the SBST (Toronto) and Mike Bradwell.
In October of 2014, the Sian Bradwell Fund was granted a certificate of continuation by Corporations Canada as a not-for-profit organisation.
That same month, which marked the 30th anniversary of Sian’s birth, an Endowment Fund was established at Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation to assist cancer patients at the McMaster Children’s Hospital and Juravinski Cancer Centre and Hospital.